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From: Food Quality & Safety Magazine, August/September 2009

Features

Lessons Learned From Recent Recalls

How the food industry can safeguard against future contaminations and recalls

The recent massive recall of food products containing peanuts and other peanut ingredients distributed by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) offers several insights into steps the food industry can take to avoid future contaminations and recalls. The recall also highlights the fact that the industry must take responsibility for safeguarding our nation’s food supply, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently lacks the resources to do so.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: The Dark Side of Social Media

Food manufacturing and service businesses have several tools to protect their brands in cyberspace

Financial analysts have attributed falling share prices to particular campaigns, noting that some domains claim a regular audience of 20,000 to 50,000 visitors and that information on those sites has been accepted and echoed by the mainstream media.- Bruce Arnold, Caslon Analytics

Pushing the Rapid Micro Envelope

Seeking true ‘real-time’ methods of pathogen detection

Back in the 1970s, cop shows like “S.W.A.T.” would sometimes refer to the bulletproof vests that police officers wore. These days, you don’t hear much about bulletproof vests—now they’re called body armor or bullet-resistant vests because none of them are completely bulletproof. Tom Weschler feels the same way about the term “rapid microbiology” when it comes to pathogen detection. “Most of the current systems really aren’t that rapid,” said...

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Departments

Routine, Reliable Mercury Screeing

Atomic absorption spectrometry provides fast, accurate sample analysis

Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in air, water and soil. It exists in three different forms, elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. Coal-burning power plants are the largest source of mercury emissions to the air caused by humans in the United States, accounting for more than 40% of all domestic anthropogenic mercury emissions.1 Additional mercury emission sources include the burning of hazardous waste, chlorine production, mercury product...

Accurate Testing of Complicated Food Matrices

LC/MS technology avoids manual sample prep and increases throughout

Worldwide food safety concerns have risen dramatically as the number of food contamination incidents and product recalls has increased. Accurately monitoring contaminant levels in food and agricultural products is essential to assure the safety of the food supply and to manage human health risks.

A Sweet Recipe for Safety

Metal detection tools help cookie maker ensure food quality

Ellison Bakery, a family-owned and operated manufacturer of cookies and cookie-based crunch and inclusion products in Fort Wayne, Ind., has found a sweet recipe for success. Despite today’s challenging economic environment, Ellison Bakery is thriving. Sales grew 39% in 2008 and are already up 24% this year. The company attributes its success to its focus on superior customer care and its dedication to producing premium quality product. To ensure the highest level of food safety, the bakery relies on...

ATP Assays Point Way to Greater Safety

Advances in ATP testing technology have improved assay performance

Food contamination can be a devastating public relations disaster for a food or beverage manufacturer or restaurant. For example, the Michigan-based Bill Knapp’s restaurant chain never fully recovered from a food contamination scandal in the 1990s. Although the cause of the contamination was identified and eliminated, the chain struggled until it finally closed its doors in 2002. An even bigger scandal in 2008, involving Salmonella contamination of peanut products, led to the discovery of major...

Trace to Keep Safe

Tracking ingredients can diminish the scope of a recall or prevent one altogether

With recent Salmonella outbreaks involving peanuts and pistachios dominating the headlines, an inordinate number of recalls have occurred across the food industry. The recall notices for these nut products, which are used as ingredients in many types of foods, include phrases such as “may have been contaminated” and “potentially may be contaminated with Salmonella because of the inclusion of the suspect peanuts/pistachios.” This language suggests a lack of traceability of...

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